Takeo Miki

Takeo Miki
三木 武夫

Miki in 1951
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
9 December 1974  24 December 1976
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Kakuei Tanaka
Succeeded by Takeo Fukuda
Personal details
Born (1907-03-17)17 March 1907
Awa, Tokushima, Japan
Died 14 November 1988(1988-11-14) (aged 81)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Mutsuko Miki (1940–1988; his death)
Alma mater Meiji University
University of Southern California

Takeo Miki (三木 武夫 Miki Takeo, 17 March 1907 – 14 November 1988) was a Japanese politician who served as the 41st Prime Minister of Japan from 1974 until 1976.

Background summary

Born in Awa, Tokushima, Miki graduated from Meiji University in Tokyo. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in law from the institution in 1966.[1]

Miki was elected to the Diet in 1937 and remained there until his death in 1988, during which he was elected a representative for 19 times over 51 years. In the 1942 general election he ran in opposition to the military government under Hideki Tojo and still managed to win a seat; his efforts at this time were assisted by Kan Abe, the grandfather of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.[2]

Miki took over from Kakuei Tanaka as Prime Minister on 9 December 1974, following the latter's implication in the corruptions concerning real-estate and construction companies. Miki's attraction was particularly due his reputed political cleanness, and his weak power base from his small faction. In fact, he was not prepared to be prime minister at all, as was reflected when upon his election he murmured "a bolt from the blue".

After being elected, Miki attempted to reform the LDP, relentlessly investigating the Lockheed bribery scandals, which made him a large number of enemies within the party. A campaign literally called "Down with Miki" ("Miki oroshi") was started by influential faction leaders. Despite Miki's personal popularity with the public, the Lockheed scandal reflected poorly on the party, which lost its overall majority in the 1976 election to the Diet and had to make deals with minor parties to remain in power. Embarrassed by the result, Miki resigned[3] and was succeeded on 24 December 1976, by Takeo Fukuda.


During his time in Seattle, Miki spent a period as a dishwasher at noted Japanese restaurant Maneki.

In Mao Zedong's final days, he took a great interest in Miki's political condition, as Miki was suffering a coup d'état from amongst his own party. Mao had never shown any interest in Miki before, or even mentioned him.

He held many other posts during his career in addition to being prime minister.

NFL player Takeo Spikes was named after Miki.[4]

Connection to Seattle

To commemorate the ties of Japan to America, and Seattle in particular, Miki gave 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle to commemorate the United States Bicentennial in 1976. This gift gave birth to the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, still running annually.

Slang Term

In Hong Kong, the name "Takeo Miki" (三木武夫) is sometimes used to describe actors or actresses with wooden or no emotional expressions during movies or TV dramas. Some have said that the origin for the slang term stems from Miki's wooden expression during his appearance in news reports about him.



  1. Japanese Minister of International Trade and Industry, Takeo Miki's visit to Los Angeles, California, 29–30 September 1966 and 1 and 3 October 1966, Japanese American National Museum, Accessed 10 February 2009.
  2. "Japanese prime minister`s another DNA". Dong-A Ilbo. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  3. "Tanaka reshuffles Japanese cabinet". Daytona Beach Morning. Tokyo. AP. 17 July 1974. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  4. Michael Silver, Face Lift, Sports Illustrated, 26 November 2001, Accessed 7 October 2011.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Tetsu Katayama
Minister of Communications
Succeeded by
Eiji Tomiyoshi
Preceded by
Mitsujiro Ishii
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
Shinji Yoshino
Preceded by
Ichiro Kono
Director of the Economic Planning Agency
Succeeded by
Koichi Seko
Preceded by
Shoriki Matsutaro
Minister of State, Head of the Science and Technology Agency
Succeeded by
Tatsunosuke Takasaki
Preceded by
Masanosuke Ikeda
Minister of State, Head of the Science and Technology Agency
Succeeded by
Tsuruyo Kondo
Preceded by
Yoshio Sakurauchi
Minister of International Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
Watarō Kanno
Preceded by
Etsusaburō Shiina
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Kiichi Aichi
Preceded by
Shuji Masutani
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Takeo Fukuda
Preceded by
Kakuei Tanaka
Prime Minister of Japan
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